Osteopathic Manipulative Medicine Explained

What is Osteopathic Manipulative Medicine?

Osteopathic Manipulative Medicine, or OMM, is a form of treatment taught to students studying osteopathic medicine and becomes part of their therapeutic toolkit when they graduate as doctors of osteopathic medicine (DOs).  In medicine, “manipulation” is defined as the therapeutic application of manual pressure or force. OMM, also called Osteopathic Manipulative Treatment (OMT), is a form of manipulation that:

  • Is the generic term used to refer to many different manipulation techniques
  • Can be used to treat structural and functional issues in the bones, joints, tissues and muscles of the body
  • Uses the relationship between the neuromusculoskeletal system and the rest of the body to restore functionality and/or remove barriers to motion and healing
  • Achieves and maintains patient health as part of a whole system of evaluation and treatment

    This brief video introduces the osteopathic tenets of mind, body and spirit, explains DOs can practice in all areas of medicine and discusses the unique practice of osteopathic manipulative treatment (OMT).

      What are the Benefits of OMM?

      As one of many tools that DOs can utilize to care for patients, OMM:

      • Can be used to treat a wide variety of common ailments, including headaches, arthritis, stress injuries, sports injuries and pain in areas such as the lower back, neck, shoulders and knees
      • Provides a non-invasive and medication-free treatment option for patients
      • Can be performed in many different environments
      • Training enhances a physician’s overall diagnostic skills
      • Can be administered safely in combination with other medical treatments to improve outcomes

        Who Uses OMM?

        • Only osteopathic physicians are trained and licensed to provide OMM
        • OMM is a required and foundational element of osteopathic medical school curricula. Comprehensive OMM training occurs throughout an osteopathic medical student’s curriculum, as well as during clinical clerkship training
        • DO graduates may also choose to pursue residency training to specialize in OMM

        OMM Visualized

        OMM is used to treat many forms of bodily dysfunction including pain, discomfort and limited range of motion caused by illness or injury. The goal of OMM is to remove these barriers in order to achieve wellness.

        OMM can be applied to ease physiologic, anatomic or pathologic motion barriers.

        OMM Techniques

        Below are the 40 different OMM techniques noted in the AACOM Glossary of Osteopathic Terminology.

        • Active Method
        • Articulatory Technique
        • Balanced Ligamentous Tension
        • Chapman Reflex
        • Combined Method
        • Compression of the Fourth Ventricle
        • Counterstrain
        • Direct Method
        • Exaggeration Method
        • Exaggeration Technique
        • Facilitated Oscillatory Release Technique
        • Facilitated Positional Release
        • Fascial Unwinding
        • Functional Method
        • Hepatic Pump
        • High Velocity/Low Amplitude Technique
        • Indirect Method
        • Inhibitory Pressure Technique
        • Integrated Neuromusculoskeletal Release
        • Ligamentous Articular Strain
        • Lymphatic Pump
        • Mandibular Drainage Technique
        • Mesenteric Release Technique
        • Muscle Energy
        • Myofascial Release
        • Myotension
        • Osteopathic Cranial Manipulative Medicine
        • Passive Method
        • Pedal Pump
        • Percussion Vibrator Technique
        • Positional Technique
        • Progressive Inhibition of Neuromuscular Structures
        • Range of Motion Technique
        • Soft Tissue Technique
        • Still Technique
        • Thoracic Pump
        • Toggle Technique
        • Traction Technique
        • V-Spread Technique
        • Visceral Manipulation